Ryan Thomason

Geek Dad Report: You Can Do It

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Having grown up in a very sports oriented household may be the reason why I value pushing myself and trying to overcome obstacles in my way. How do you translate that to your kids though?

What do I do when my 4 year old tells me that something is too hard and he wants my help, when I know fully well that he could do it on his own. Say ‘No’ and the whining/crying machine starts and they just want that help to do the task. Say ‘Ok’ and am I just making things too easy for him and in that way hindering him?

This whole thought process came to head when we were going on a bike ride the other day. He’s got a “big boy” bike now, with training wheels and everything. He REALLY wants to ride the trike that he’s had forever and I’ve deemed is now his sisters and not his anymore. At first he threw a huge fit when I even suggested that he take off the training wheels and learn to ride without them. I’m talking full on tears streaming down his face because he was afraid of falling. So, I gave in and put the wheels on.

Then, we get to the actually riding the bike (with training wheels) he wants a little push to get started. When all he’s got to do is you know, push on the pedals. So, I just told him how to do it, he cried. I held my ground and left him to his own devices and played with his sister. He cried, and cried, and cried that I wouldn’t push him on his bike. “I can’t do it.” He kept repeating over and over. He stood next to it and pouted, the whole works. Eventually though, I got him on the bike, and he got started by himself, after some 10 minutes of ear stabbing whining.

My point is how as a parent do we get our kids past that mentality of “I can’t do it” to “I’m going to conquer this bitch”. Some people I’ve talked to say that you’re just born that way, I think that’s bull, because we’re all programmable it’s just a matter of who’s doing the programming. It KILLS me when my son is crying and all it would take is for me to just take the two seconds to help him accomplish the solution we’re looking for. Doing that is my fear that I’m in some way not giving him that drive to have that feeling you get when you figure something out on your own.

Yes, he’s 4, he’s not totally a fully functioning human being yet, he still poops his pants and has the general uselessness of little kids beyond entertaining us. I look around me though, and see all the people who are such slack-asses and useless adults that in my head I think I HAVE to be harsh and put up with his crying and whining for help on tasks that I know for a fact he could do.

Talk to me Geek parents, am I some kind of hardline ass that is trying too hard to prepare his kid for the world, or should I relax and just help him with knowledge that maybe he’ll come around on his own at some point?

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